Calibration of sharp cut impactors for indoor and outdoor particle sampling

William A. Turner, Bernard A. Olson, George A. Allen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


A low-flow rate, sharp cut point inertial impaction sampler was developed in 1986 that has been widely used in PM exposure studies in the United States and several other countries. Although sold commercially as the MS and T Area Sampler, this sampler is widely referred to as the Harvard Impactor, since the initial use was at the Harvard School of Public Health. Impactor nozzles for this sampler have been designed and characterized for flows of 4,10, 20, and 23 L/min and cut points of 1, 2, 5, and 10 μm. An improved method for determining the actual collecting efficiency curve was developed and used for the recent impactor calibrations reported here. It consists of placing a multiplet reduction impactor inline just downstream of the vibrating orifice aerosol generator to remove the multiplets, thus allowing only the singlet particle s to penetrate through to the impactor being calibrated. This paper documents the techniques and results of recent nozzle calibrations for this sampler and compares it with other size-selective inertial impactors. In general, the impactors were found to have sharp cutoff characteristics. Particle interstage losses for all of the impactors were very low, with the exception of the 10-μm cut size 20 L/ min impactor, which had greater losses due to the higher flow rate. All of the cut nozzle laboratory calibrations compare favorably to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) WINS-96 fine particle mass (PM2 5) impactor calibration data.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)484-487
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of the Air and Waste Management Association
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2000


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